If there is a spectrum of morality, the two opposite corners must be occupied by politics and competitive sports. On the positive side of the spectrum, we have competitive sports where athletes dedicate their lives to get to the podium, while on the other end, we have politics, where most of the politicians are engaged in the cut-throat competition of backstabbing each other to gain an upper hand. Congressman Rahul Gandhi does not seem to grasp this difference and is engaged in mixing politics and sports altogether, exactly like his predecessors.
If anyone has made a comical decision of following Rahul Gandhi on Twitter, he has not tweeted a single word of appreciation for the Indian Paralympic contingent’s successful TOKYO 2021 venture. At the time of writing, his last tweet regarding the Paralympic games was an appreciation of Sumit Antil’s Gold at the Paralympics. As reported by TFI, this tweet was also biased as it showed his Hindu-phobic attitude. He had cropped out OM from the pendant of Sumit. Before that, he congratulated Bhavina Patel and some other medal winners from the Paralympics.
Rahul Baba could not tolerate criticism
As people started to point out the Congress Government’s 70 years of failure in cultivating a medal-winning sporting culture, he simply stopped tweeting for the Paralympians. Rahul’s frustration was exacerbated by the constant mention of Government supports by the athletes. Almost every medal winner in the Olympics and Paralympics directly congratulated Prime Minister Modi and mentioned how his encouragement and his Government’s schemes played a decisive role in their journey to the podium.
Failures of Congress in the sports arena
Successive Congress Governments in independent India had been plaguing sporting culture in the country. They had been appointing their personal favourite Bureaucrats, family members, friends, ministers, and other politicians at the presidential seats of the sporting bodies. These people only served their interests and got their children and contacts into the playing XI. The sporting federations and events were mired by scams. Most of the stadiums had become a grazing ground for the local cattle without any proper arrangement of necessities like GYMs, nutrition. The situation was so bad that players had to spend from their pockets to continue their practice. India won more medals in Tokyo Paralympics than a total number of paralympic medals in the last 50 years of their sojourn.
5 years of Modi vs 50 years of Congress
After 2014, India renewed its Olympic efforts under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With two years left for Rio Olympics, Modi Government launched several schemes, but they could not fructify much due to a shortage of time. Schemes such as the National Sports Talent Contest for sub-junior level, Army Boys Sports Company schemes, SAI training centres scheme, Special area games scheme, Centre of Excellence Scheme are efficiently managed by the Sports Authority of India.
Under Modi Government, Fit India movement, Khelo India Scheme, Sports Talent search portal, National sports Awards scheme and Sports and Games for persons with disabilities schemes and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) have proven to be a game-changer for India. Most of the Indian Olympians in both Olympics and Paralympics are the result of the TOPS scheme. While Schemes under the Congress government provided facilities before 5 to 6 months of the event, Modi Government has made sure that athletes get facilitated in their journey from sub-junior level to Olympics.
Sharad Kumar, the Indian Bronze medalist in High Jump pointed out Modi Government’s efforts as – “You look at Tokyo 2020, the Japanese government wanted to make the Paralympics a bigger event than Olympics. In India, no private equities had come forward to help us. That is when, the government stepped in, helping us with expensive equipment and whatever our requirements were. The physically challenged are being appreciated more by the government. Devendra had gone to Athens Games at his own cost. Now, the Prime Minister is sending us off and calling us on our achievements. Even the USA athlete who won the gold medal in my event said ‘nothing can get bigger than this, not even a gold medal.”
It’s high time that ‘Prince’ Rahul Gandhi should stop playing petty politics and give the athletes and Government their due credit. Machiavellian politics do not go hand-in-hand with sports.